Term of Award

Spring 1999

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Jane A. Page

Committee Member 1

Edmund C. Short

Committee Member 2

Bryan W. Griffin

Committee Member 3

Sharon E. Taylor

Abstract

This study involved an investigation of elementary (grades K-4) teachers' attitudes toward mathematics instruction and the mathematics teaching methods elementary teachers plan and implement in the classroom setting. The population consisted of 492 elementary teachers (grades K-4) currently teaching in the Bibb County, Georgia, Public School System. The sample represented a cluster sampling of the population and consisted of 90 elementary teachers currently teaching in six public elementary schools. One inner city school, four suburban schools, and one rural/semirural school were randomly selected. The research design used was a correlational design. The sets of data considered were elementary teachers' self-expressed attitudes regarding mathematics instruction and elementary teachers' self-reported frequencies with which they plan and implement particular teaching methods in the elementary mathematics classroom.

Participants completed two Likert scale questionnaires. One questionnaire presented attitudinal statements related to the teaching of mathematics. Possible responses included "strongly agree," "agree," "undecided," "disagree," and "strongly disagree." The second questionnaire contained a list of teaching methods accompanied by frequencies from which subjects could select a response: "daily," "frequently," "occasionally," "seldom," and "never."

Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated and used to interpret the results of the questionnaires completed by the subjects of the study. Pearson correlation coefficients measured relationships between elementary teachers' attitudes toward mathematics instruction and reported frequencies of planning and implementing particular teaching methods. Teachers' attitudes toward mathematics instruction were analyzed in five areas: anxiety, confidence, enjoyment, desire for recognition, and pressure to conform. The frequencies of planning and implementing particular teaching methods were analyzed in three areas: traditional teaching methods, progressive teaching methods, and teaching methods that combine traditional and progressive approaches.

Of the 15 Pearson correlation coefficients calculated, none was significant at the p<.05 level of significance. Both positive and negative correlation coefficients were found, with no definite pattern being revealed. Consequently, the results of this study suggest that if there are relationships among elementary teachers' attitudes toward mathematics instruction and the frequencies with which they plan and implement particular teaching methods in the elementary classroom, the relationships are weak inconsistent, at best.

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